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Looking to Try The Best Toronto Trails? Check out Lets Hike T.O.

Founder Camara Chambers is building a inclusive hiking community, one hike at a time

A landscape picture of a woman wearing a blue jacket and a light pink hat. She stands in front of a field that has lost colour due to the changing seasons.

Courtesy of Camara Chambers

Camara Chambers is laying a new path in more ways than one. Since the launch of Let’s Hike T.O. two summers ago, close to 1,000 people have traversed Toronto trails led by her group’s trained leaders. What makes Chambers’ hiking club stand out is her mandate to introduce the activity to folks who might not normally find their way to a hiking trail without a little guidance. 

Chambers and her team have created a hiking community that’s accessible and welcoming to all by hosting events in a variety of neighbourhoods, keeping the price point low, arranging transportation for out-of-town hikes and cultivating an inclusive atmosphere. This means people from a range of backgrounds—including Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) and newcomers to Canada—can get the support and inspiration they need to get out and enjoy nature. As a hike leader in a previous club, Chambers noticed a diversity gap that nobody talked about. She suggested to the board that they should do something about it. They didn’t share her sense of urgency, so she set out on her own.

“It’s made me even more of an advocate of equity,” she says. “We’re always challenging ourselves to be better advocates.” The volunteer-run group hosts out-of-GTA hikes along with city walkabouts, some focused on the local history of Black, Jewish or Indigenous peoples. 

The benefits, Chambers notes, are many. Let’s Hike T.O. contributes tangibly to the building of community, helping people forge new friendships and boosting confidence and fitness. During the pandemic, these hikes provided a social connection to people who may have felt alone or isolated. That’s the very real upside to getting outside and moving, especially with a support group that is thrilled to have you along.

Tickets are typically $5 plus fees, available on the Let’s Hike T.O. EventBrite page. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram @LetshikeTO

 

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